Mike Herbold

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Dec 13, 1999
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Hi Inger:
How's my favorite OzzieBrit?

I remember reading a John O'Hara novel years ago that described how neighborhoods changed from one generation to the next ("From The Terrace", "A Rage To Live", or "Sermons and Soda Water"?).

In the 1920's, Brereton's Florence neighborhood would have been the suburbs of Southeast Los Angeles. Palm trees lined the 30 ft wide streets and every house had a nice front porch and a little lawn in front, and room in the street or the back yard for kids to play. Everything south and east from there was farmland.

As a result of WWII and later economic develop, LA's population exploded and expanded in every direction, and continues to do so. The southern and eastern "suburbs" now extend 50 miles further.

This has happened elsewhere, but LA's lack of adequate mass transportation and almost total reliance on the automobile has really exaggerated the problem. Early suburban neighborhoods that were built during the days of one car or less per family got awfully congested when both parents and all their kids owned their own car, and streets that were 30 feet wide became congested parking lots.

There were other cultural changes. The old suburbs had 2 and 3 bedroom houses with a single bathroom. The new suburbs have bedrooms for everyone, and at least two bathrooms.

There were also and continue to be ethnic changes. Whites fled the LA vicinity, and neighborhoods first became black and then hispanic. Brereton's old neighborhood is now mostly lower working class hispanic.

Enough about that. When are you visiting our fair state again? How's the future captain? Drop me a line sometime.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Feb 9, 1999
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OzzieBrit doing just fine here, Mike! Many thanks for your explanation of urban decay in Brereton-land. I find one of the most depressing aspects of chasing up old Titanic-related addresses can be how downwardly mobile some of these neighbourhoods are - Murdoch would not be pleased to see how his old Southampton address has entered the world of the cheap bed-sit. Some, of course, were always in dodgy areas. I spent a day once looking at Lowe's old shore addresses in Liverpool, and there were some less-than-salubrious areas that I imagine haven't changed much from the days of 'Brutal Bootle.' Didn't particularly fancy walking around them by myself carrying a camera. On the other hand, I had one pleasant surprise with a dockland's address that I thought would be dicey - turned out to be quite nice.

Tentative plans are afoot for a visit to your lovely state again later this year - possibly with Jill (but not the rest of the entourage!). I'll let you know how matters pan out.

All the best,

Ing
 
May 8, 2001
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Added to the list I believe would be Karen Abelseth, who died in Inglewood. Not too certain how bad the area had become by the time she passed away in July 1969, but was bad enough that Eric and Mike wouldn't take me there on the grand tour. Trust me, I saw Eric do some white knuckle driving through some of the areas, and I finally had to ask "Where are you taking me?! Can we please lock the doors?" So shaken was Eric, he agreed to have a large mixed drink afterwards.... Ha ha.
wink.gif
 

Arne Mjåland

Member
Oct 21, 2001
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Here is an interview George A. Brereton gave to Manitoba Free Press April 19 1912:
"George A Braden ( on the passenger list as George
Brayton) told of how captain Smith met his death:
"I saw Captain Smith while I was in the water. Once he was swept down by a wave, but managed to get his feet. Then as the boat sank he again was knocked down by a wave and this time disappeared from view".
Any comments to the interview? I do not think Brereton gave mny interviews.
 
B

BOB SILER

Guest
Re: George Andrew Brereton
Can anyone tell me where he lived at in Los Angeles and where he's buried?
Thank you
Bob Siler
 

Mike Poirier

Member
Dec 12, 1999
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Hi Thomas
Unfortunately, an article such as this was used in a 2 part article called, Fate Deals a Hand. It contained most of the myths and erroneous stories about the gamblers. Although research techniques have improved since that article was written, the lack of corroboration in those far fetched stories should have been a warning bell to the author.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>It contained most of the myths and erroneous stories about the gamblers.<<

Yet another example of why newspaper articles should be treated with caution and even extreme skepticism. While there were professional gamblers/con men on the Titanic, they were a problem on all passenger vessels, and appear to have been reletively few in numbers on this voyage.

And "...half dozen gangs of the crooks..." is more then a bit of a stretch. One thing I suppose such articles can be useful for is showing where some of the Titanic mythology started in the first place.
 
Jul 20, 2000
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>>And "...half dozen gangs of the crooks..." is more then a bit of a stretch.<<

For a more recent study of the gamblers I refer you to: A Thorough Analysis of the “Cave List” by Daniel Klistorner. The names of 5 such gentlemen appear on the Southampton Boarding List and the onboard Passenger List. - 2 failed to board. - 10 had sailed a week earlier on the Olympic.
 
Dec 7, 2000
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You beat me to it Lester! I was going to say hold your horses guys; while attributing all the gamblers to the Titanic is a bit much, there were indeed at least 5 or 6 (there's your half dozen) gamblers that did intend to sail on Titanic. In the article I do give a list of all those gamblers and you might even be able to recognise some of the names when compared to the article. One name that is easily recognisable is that of "Buffalo" Murphy, who indeed saied on Olympic on April 3, one week before the Titanic -- having booked himself on as Mr. W. J. White.

Daniel.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I think the operative term was "half a dozen gangs of crooks." That's a somewhat different animal from half a dozen seperate individuals, although I wouldn't be surprised if a few of these blokes worked together when it suited them. Some of these unholy alliances wouldn't last long beyond the voyage but then they didn't have to.

Anyone of have any examples of this sort of thing?
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Michael

George Behe in his article goes into detail about how these guys operated. They didn't usually work alone and indeed worked in groups. It has been some time since I read the article, but from memory, although working in groups, they would each have a different task to perform. One would "befriend" a passenger, another would cheat him out of his money at the table where they all played.

I guess it depends on how you define "gang" but there were certainly at least 16 gamblers that made their way eastbound to the English coast, with at least 5 intending to sail on Titanic and then the 16 eventually sailing on three different ships. Assuming a "gang" would consist of two or three gamblers, you can easily split all 16 into "half a dozen gangs of crooks".

I can't really vouch for the article's accuracy, but where it really oversteps on exaggeration however is assuming that all those gamblers came back on Titanic.

Best Regards,

Daniel.

PS. Going back to my previous post, I said (without checking) that Mr. W. J. White sailed on Olympic. He in fact intended to sail on Titanic but cancelled at the last minute and sailed on the Celtic instead.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Thanks for that information, Daniel. I don't recall ever reading George's article, but I'm not really surprised at what he found on how these people operated. It's much the same way that a lot of street swindlers work today with shell games and three card monte.

I suppose what one considers a gang depends on your perspective. Two or three people just don't strike me as such, but others may see it differently.
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Michael

While I'm sure there was no limit as such, assuming that a normal card game would constitute 4 card players, gamblers working in groups would need to form teams/gangs of a maximum of 3 people, of course to have an extra space for the unsuspecting passenger. Given this, the fact that large groups would only draw attention & suspicion and the nature of their "trade", it would be impractical for them to form gangs of any more than 3 people.

Daniel.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 13, 1999
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"Although research techniques have improved since that article was written, the lack of corroboration in those far fetched stories should have been a warning bell to the author."

I have noted similar details that should have been "warning bells" to certain other Titanic researchers as well before they formulated their opinion, but I will take the higher road and not take the liberty of listing their mistakes here. Nobody's work is perfect, we all have typos, mistakes, evidence that emerged after the fact that disproves an opinion, etc. in our published work. To pretend otherwise is simply foolish and arrogant.

Certainly, new research has been uncovered since George's articles were published, by several researchers, not the least of which include Phil Gowan and George himself. However, I think that if one sets personal feelings aside, all would agree that George's article provided some very valuable insight and original information about how these gamblers and card sharps operated, as well as the basis for establishing some of their identities. That is why the articles are still in high demand and in print by the THS nearly 24+ years after they were published.

I hope all of you had a great weekend.

Kind regards,
Tad
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Tad

Thank you very much for your input. Although 24 years after being published George's article may benefit from an update, I still think it is an incredible piece of research and certainly still holds a lot of merit today. When George wrote it, despite a number of passenger lists being available at the time, there was no definitive passenger list or volume of research to confirm or deny just who was on Titanic (there is still some contention today — but this area of Titanica has come a long way).

Despite being a little exaggerated, the newspaper article used in George's Commutator article actually holds a fair bit of merit - as I tried to point out. I think we sometimes too easily dismiss a period article as being erroneous without realising that not all of them are.

The newspaper article was written to entice the audience to read it and although not all those gamblers were on the Titanic, there is still enough truth in that colourful article which simply needs to be aligned with credible sources to be able to see the real picture.

George explains how these gamblers operated and taking that into account it is not impossible that a "gang" indeed consisted of 2 or 3 people. There were at least 16 gamblers and 5 or 6 of them were going to sail on Titanic. Some of the names of the known gamblers from passenger lists can be corroborated with those in the article.

I am actually very impressed about just how good George’s article really is and it holds up very well even after 24+ years. There is many a research from decades past that has since been proved wrong or would need significant overhaul. While George’s article could do with some changes, it would be more to fill in the gaps rather than to correct any great mistakes.

Daniel.
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 12, 1999
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I took the time to re-read the article by George Behe, before my original posting. I think it would be ashame that one could not post a critique about research and research techniques.
But to be fair, one should list the pluses with the minuses. On the plus side, I did enjoy the sequence in the smoking room. Although, it was somewhat reminiscient of the scene from the book ANTR, I found it to be interesting who was there and what they were doing; A solidly written sequence. As pointed out, the life of the ocean going gambler is examined and is also interesting. On the minus, not only the assumption of certain gamblers being on board, also there is little info on the real gamblers. Not so much their on board activities, but their personal lives. There is more on the gamblers that were not on board, than the real gamblers.

Well, I am glad someone will take the high road.
Although, if people did not take time to dig for the correct info or point out inconsistencies, the real info may not surface. I think that would be a disservice. Imagine if no one posted on the Californian incident. Although, in the end, there is no answer, there are points that can be corrected. To stay silent, would be a shame- dont you agree? Of course, we have seen sly and obvious digs with people using fake personas on boards or via snail mail to 'critique' someones work or offer 'research'.
The good thing about ET is that we know exactly who is making the comment and thank goodness for the public forum of a message board.
 
Mar 17, 2018
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I know officially he committed suicide, but I heard that Brereton&rsquo;s weapon of choice was a shotgun. I don&rsquo;t know much about guns, but wouldn&rsquo;t it be very difficult to shoot yourself point blank with a shotgun? Maybe it was sawed-off? Idk. Brereton was a notorious con-artist, could it be that somebody murdered him?
 

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